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NVCT Honored with Merit Award for its Save River Farm Campaign

Press Release

For Immediate Release: July 21, 2023


Northern Virginia Conservation Trust

Aaron Kershaw / (703) 462-9572

[Annandale, Virginia] — The Northern Virginia Conservation Trust (NVCT) is excited and grateful to have been awarded the 2023 Merit Award in the Public and Nonprofit Projects category from the Potomac Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA). This accolade recognizes NVCT's efforts in spearheading the Save River Farm campaign to safeguard the historic River Farm property, once owned by former President George Washington and the headquarters of the American Horticultural Society (AHS).

The Merit Award in Public and Nonprofit Projects highlights NVCT's unwavering commitment to preserving and protecting natural and cultural resources in the Northern Virginia region. River Farm, a cherished landmark on the banks of the Potomac River near Mount Vernon, became the home of the AHS in 1973 after being saved from a proposed sale to the Soviet Union. However, in 2021, the property faced another grave threat as a potential sale imperiled the future of the property.

The Save River Farm campaign, led by NVCT Executive Director Alan Rowsome and a group of dedicated community stakeholders, worked tirelessly on two key fronts. Firstly, their efforts focused on safeguarding the invaluable historic and cultural resources associated with River Farm. Secondly, they aimed to ensure that public access to the gardens and open spaces would continue into the future.

The year-long campaign to save River Farm was ultimately successful because of incredible community support and a determination not to lose this unique cultural and natural asset to closure and possible development. The collaboration formed by conservation groups, historic preservation experts, community leaders and landscape architects played an integral part in the success of the Save River Farm campaign. NVCT is proud to have led and supported a passionate and diverse group of individuals who served on the Save River Committee, including:

- Alan Rowsome, Chair & Executive Director - Northern Virginia Conservation Trust

- Keister O. Evans, former Executive Director - American Horticultural Society

- Katherine Ward, Co-chair - Mount Vernon Council Citizen Association

- Anne Wilson Fafara, Volunteer Coordinator

- Paul Seifert, Policy Expert

- Daniel Straub, Urban Planner | Landscape Architect

‘Receiving the 2023 Merit Award from the Potomac Chapter of ASLA is a tremendous honor for NVCT, and we extend our heartfelt gratitude for the recognition. NVCT remains steadfast in its commitment to conserving and preserving the rich landscapes and historic treasures of Northern Virginia, and there’s no better feeling than to walk the beautiful grounds of River Farm today knowing they are safe and protected,’ Rowsome said.


The Northern Virginia Conservation Trust (NVCT) is a nonprofit land trust dedicated to protecting the natural, historic, and scenic resources of Northern Virginia for the benefit of current and future generations. Since its founding in 1994, NVCT has protected nearly 9,000 acres in urban and rural areas. Through collaborative partnerships and strategic conservation efforts, NVCT works tirelessly to safeguard the region's unique landscapes and cultural heritage. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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